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Metformin

Metformin is a drug that helps to lower blood glucose and increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin. It’s used as a first-line treatment for patients with type 2 diabetes.

Metformin reduces the amount of glucose that the liver releases and helps the body respond better to insulin. It can be used as a single treatment, or combined with others to tackle type 2 diabetes.

Metformin isn’t a substitute for a healthy diet and exercise, as it’s normally only prescribed if these two methods alone haven’t relieved the symptoms and your blood sugar is still at a dangerous level. It should always be taken with food to reduce the severity of side effects such as diarrhoea, nausea, and bloating, though these often disappear within a few short weeks.

Prices start from £12.99

Last Patient Information Leaflet Review Date: 09/11/2020

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See Metformin Patient Information Leaflet

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Metformin
Please note a final decision on a suitable medicine for your condition will be made by our prescriber PLEASE CLICK HERE TO ANSWER SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR SYMPTOMS
Please note all the answers are reviewed by a doctor to assess eligibility
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  • Allergy to metformin
  • Severely reduced kidney function
  • Liver problems
  • Uncontrolled diabetes with hyperglycaemia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, rapid weight loss, lactic acidosis or ketoacidosis
  • Severe infection
  • Heart failure
  • Recent heart attack
  • Problems with your circulation
  • Breathing difficulties
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  • Iodine dye inection for diagnostic imaging
  • Diuretics
  • NSAIDs
  • COX-2 inhibitors
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Angiotensin II receptor antagonists
  • Beta-2 receptor agonists
  • Salbutamol
  • Terbutaline
  • Corticosteroids
  • Other medicines used to treat diabetes (unless prescribed by your own GP to use in conjunction with metformin)
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  • You have an allergy to metformin
  • You've used this treatment in the past and suffered from serious side effects
  • You're already taking metformin in another medicinal form, or to treat another condition
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Metformin is a drug that helps to lower blood glucose and increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin. It’s used as a first-line treatment for patients with type 2 diabetes.

Metformin reduces the amount of glucose that the liver releases and helps the body respond better to insulin. It can be used as a single treatment, or combined with others to tackle type 2 diabetes.

Metformin isn’t a substitute for a healthy diet and exercise, as it’s normally only prescribed if these two methods alone haven’t relieved the symptoms and your blood sugar is still at a dangerous level. It should always be taken with food to reduce the severity of side effects such as diarrhoea, nausea, and bloating, though these often disappear within a few short weeks.

Prices start from £12.99

Last Patient Information Leaflet Review Date: 09/11/2020

.

See Metformin Patient Information Leaflet

Details

What is metformin and what are its uses?

Metformin hydrochloride is a medicine that’s used to treat and manage type 2 diabetes. It is a first-line treatment for patients with this particular condition.

Available as 500mg or 850mg tablets, metformin helps to lower blood sugar by reducing the amount of glucose that the liver releases, as well as improving the body’s response to insulin.

Metformin is the generic name of this medication, but there are also branded versions of this treatment which exist including Sukkarto, Glucophage, Yaltormin, Bolamyn, Diagemet, Glucient and Metabet. There are also diabetes medicines which combine metformin and another treatment, with Janumet being one example (it contains both metformin and sitagliptin).

How does metformin work?

In type 2 diabetes, metformin works in two ways. It reduces the amount of glucose released by the liver, and it also makes the body more sensitive to insulin.

Insulin resistance is common in diabetes, and it usually means that the cells in the body don’t respond well to the hormone and make the body less able to use glucose in the blood. This in turn leads to high blood sugar – a hallmark of type 2 diabetes. By regulating these symptoms, metformin helps to manage the condition either on its own or when used alongside other treatments.

What are the side effects of metformin?

Metformin can often cause side effects when you first start taking it, which is why doctors generally recommend gradually increasing your dose over several weeks. Some of the side effects you might experience include:

  • Heartburn
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in taste, including possibly a metallic taste in mouth

The side effects listed above are the most commonly reported by users of metformin. However, you may avoid experiencing any of these problems and if you do they are usually short-lasting. You should speak to a doctor if you have any prolonged or severe side effects.

It is recommended that you take metformin with a meal to reduce the severity of the side effects, but they should subside within a few weeks of taking the medication.

What are the risks of taking metformin?

Metformin is generally well-tolerated, but there are a few risks that you should be aware of. The drug can increase the risk of lactic acidosis; where high levels of lactic acid can build up in the bloodstream. Whilst rare, it’s more likely to happen to patients who are taking metformin but also have liver disease, kidney disease, struggle with alcoholism, or have heart failure. The symptoms to be aware of are:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle pain
  • Difficulty breathing

Some of the above symptoms can mimic the side effects of the medication, so if you’re feeling any of the above to an uncomfortable degree, it’s important to contact your doctor for advice.

Other than that, metformin generally reduces risks of certain conditions, such as cardiovascular problems and obesity. Whilst metformin isn’t a weight loss aid, it certainly doesn’t make you gain weight like some other diabetes medications. In fact, there’s actually some evidence to suggest otherwise.

Metformin in pregnancy

If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, then speak to your doctor or local pharmacist before using metformin. It’s usually not recommended to take metformin if you are currently breast-feeding or planning to breastfeed your baby. Pregnant women will, however, still need insulin to treat their diabetes if they have this condition.

Will metformin cause low blood sugar?

No, metformin won’t cause hypoglycaemia. Although the drug works to lower blood glucose levels, when metformin is used on its own to treat diabetes, it shouldn’t cause low blood sugar. However, if it’s used in conjunction with other medicines such as insulin, there is a chance you might experience it. The symptoms to be aware of include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Pale skin
  • Shakiness
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Hunger
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Visual disturbances
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Weakness
  • Fast heartbeat (tachycardia)

Can metformin affect my ability to drive?

The effects of metformin shouldn’t affect your ability to drive. However, if you have diabetes, you may be required to report this to the DVLA due to some symptoms that the condition can cause. It’s also important to recognise if you’re experiencing hypoglycaemia as this can seriously hinder your coordination and concentration. If you think you’re experiencing low blood sugar, don’t drive or operate machinery until you feel well enough to do so.

How do you take metformin?

Metformin most commonly comes in tablet form, either as standard release or slow release. Strengths of 500mg tablets or 850mg tablets can be prescribed. However, it can also come as an oral solution for those that struggle to take tablets.

Adults prescribed metformin usually start by taking 2 or 3 metformin tablets a day. The maximum daily dose that can be taken is 3,000mg divided into 3 doses.

Children and adolescents aged 10 and above usually start by taking two or three metformin tablets a day as well, but the maximum daily dose allowed is 2,000mg divided into 2 or 3 doses.

If you have reduced kidney function, then your doctor may prescribe a lower dose. The maximum daily dose allowed is likely to be 1,000mg, split into 2 doses.

Metformin should always be taken with food, either a meal or a snack. If you’ve been told to take it 3 times a day, it might help to take it alongside your breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Can I take metformin?

As metformin is generally well tolerated, it can be taken safely by most people. However, you should avoid the drug if you suffer from any of the following:

  • Severely reduced kidney function
  • Severe dehydration
  • Liver problems
  • Alcoholism
  • Sepsis
  • Respiratory failure
  • Shock
  • You have had a recent heart attack or you’re being treated for acute heart failure

If you fall into any of the above categories, please see your normal GP for advice.

Where can I get metformin?

Any doctor should be able to prescribe the medication if you need it, and you can also buy metformin online from websites such as ours. If you decide to order through us, you’ll be asked to complete a patient questionnaire which will be sent to one of our GMC/EU registered doctors for approval.

Make sure that any website you order medication from displays their regulatory credentials and are operating legally.

How is my order shipped to me?

When an order is ready for shipping, it is collected and delivered by either the Royal Mail or DPD depending on your preference (or possibly your location or the item you ordered). Each order is assigned a tracking number, which will be emailed to you at the time of dispatch. Your medicine will be sent in plain and discreet packaging. We do not include any branding on our packaging nor any labels which inform readers what type of product is contained within.

Dosage instructions
A typical starting dose is one 500mg tablet, once per day for the first week, one 500mg tablet twice a day for the second week, and one 500mg tablet three times a day from then on.